ST. CHRISTOPHER church – vercelli

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The Church of St. Christopher is a small jewel that houses some precious works by the talented Gaudenzio Ferrari. The church, also known as the Sistine Chapel of Vercelli, is entirely frescoed, and contains some of the most important masterpieces of the Renaissance in Piedmont, such as the Madonna of the Orange Trees altarpiece, the Stories of Mary Magdalene, the Stories of the Virgin Mary, the Crucifixion and the Assumption of the Virgin.

The Church of St. Christopher, with its pure Renaissance style, was rebuilt in 1516 after the old church and convent passed into the hands of the wealthy Corradi family of Lignana. Not many years later, in 1529 to be precise, Gaudenzio Ferrari was asked to carry out work on the interior of the church, which was completed around 1534. Ferrari spent about ten years of his life in Vercelli and certainly the most significant traces of his presence are found in the church of St. Christopher: a veritable treasure chest of some of the most important masterpieces of the Renaissance in Piedmont.

Entirely frescoed with exceptionally evocative cycles depicting Stories of the Virgin and Stories of Mary Magdalene, completed between 1532 and 1534, and the well-known altarpiece called The Madonna of the Orange Trees, where the painted oranges are actually quinces, the Church of St. Christopher awakens a sense of wonder with the shaded and dreamy frescoes that seem to expand, run along the pillars and flood every smallest space with colour and light.

The interior of the church is divided into three aisles ended by the transept over which the dome rises within an octagonal tiburium, which can be seen from the outside. A large polychrome marble balustrade, designed by Filippo Juvarra, divides the area reserved for the faithful from the presbytery area.



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